Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Review: Dat hair
For a game that was labeled "financially unsatisfactory" by its publisher, I think we're all a bit surprised Square Enix gave the go-ahead on a next-gen version of Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider reboot. Despite some pretty fantastic reviews, the game only became profitible towards the end of 2013, which is unfortunate given how great of a game it actually is. So for those of you who missed out on it for Xbox 360, PS3, or even PC, now is your chance to experience it -- and each of Lara Croft's singular hair strands -- in next-gen glory.
Now seeing as how nothing has changed in terms of gameplay, I'm not going to waste your time with all the fine gameplay details. Just know that the Definitive Edition plays almost exactly like its last-gen counterparts. You can read our full review of that version here.
Knowing that it's already a solid game with great core mechanics and a decent story, there's actually one two-fold question that needs answering: is it worth getting if you haven't played the last-gen version and, if you have already played the previous version, is it worth paying full price to upgrade to the Definitive Edition?
For the first part, if you haven't yet played Tomb Raider on any older platforms then yes -- absolutely give the Definitive Edition a shot. You're already guaranteed great gameplay as nothing has really changed for the PS4 and Xbox One version. For all intents and purposes, it's the exact same game, but with all of the already-released DLC included and upgraded graphics.
But what about if you've played the previous version already? Well, odds are if you enjoyed the gameplay on Xbox 360 or PS3, you'll enjoy it on Xbox One or PS4. It's the same. The Xbox One version did have some slight framerate issues, but nothing that ruins the experience.
What's most noticeable is the graphical improvement, obviously. Tomb Raider was already a gorgeous game, but seeing it on one of these newer consoles is breathtaking. You'll notice the visual improvements immediately. Like most of these "next-gen" games, the big improvement comes in the form of particle effects. From the general dust floating around the environment to the embers that burn off your torch's flame, there's an entirely new level of detail breathing life environment, making it that much more believable. Combat and actual gameplay may be the same, but the increased level of detail definitely makes it a much more enjoyable experience.
And then, there's the hair. Dat hair. If you have a high-end PC, then this probably isn't a big feature for you. But if you didn't experience TressFX, then you are in for quite a treat. Part of the Definitive Edition upgrade is Lara's hair. Each strand dances in the wind. It still doesn't react to the environmental effects as real hair would, but it's a noticeable improvement that I certainly appreciated while playing.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition was my first time playing Crystal Dynamics' reboot, so I can definitely recommend it for newcomers. As for whether or not it's worth paying full price for the same game with upgraded graphics, well that's something you need to decide. If graphics are important to you, then you'll definitely be pleased with the improvements on PS4 and Xbox One. If you're on a tight budget, then Tomb Raider is still enjoyable on Xbox 360 and PS3.